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St. Thomas Aquinas
Summa Theologica

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  • SECOND PART
    • Aquin.: SMT FS Prologue Para. 1/1 - FIRST PART OF THE SECOND PART (FS) (QQ[1]-114)
      • Aquin.: SMT FS Q[83] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF THE SUBJECT OF ORIGINAL SIN (FOUR ARTICLES)
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Aquin.: SMT FS Q[83] Out. Para. 1/1 - OF THE SUBJECT OF ORIGINAL SIN (FOUR ARTICLES)

We must now consider the subject of original sin, under which head there
are four points of inquiry:

(1) Whether the subject of original sin is the flesh rather than the
soul?

(2) If it be the soul, whether this be through its essence, or through
its powers?

(3) Whether the will prior to the other powers is the subject of
original sin?

(4) Whether certain powers of the soul are specially infected, viz. the
generative power, the concupiscible part, and the sense of touch?


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[83] A[1] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether original sin is more in the flesh than in the soul?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[83] A[1] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that original sin is more in the flesh than in the
soul. Because the rebellion of the flesh against the mind arises from the
corruption of original sin. Now the root of this rebellion is seated in
the flesh: for the Apostle says (Rm. 7:23): "I see another law in my
members fighting against the law of my mind." Therefore original sin is
seated chiefly in the flesh.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[83] A[1] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, a thing is more in its cause than in its effect: thus
heat is in the heating fire more than in the hot water. Now the soul is
infected with the corruption of original sin by the carnal semen.
Therefore original sin is in the flesh rather than in the soul.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[83] A[1] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, we contract original sin from our first parent, in so
far as we were in him by reason of seminal virtue. Now our souls were not
in him thus, but only our flesh. Therefore original sin is not in the
soul, but in the flesh.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[83] A[1] Obj. 4 Para. 1/1

OBJ 4: Further, the rational soul created by God is infused into the
body. If therefore the soul were infected with original sin, it would
follow that it is corrupted in its creation or infusion: and thus God
would be the cause of sin, since He is the author of the soul's creation
and fusion.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[83] A[1] Obj. 5 Para. 1/1

OBJ 5: Further, no wise man pours a precious liquid into a vessel,
knowing that the vessel will corrupt the liquid. But the rational soul is
more precious than any liquid. If therefore the soul, by being united
with the body, could be corrupted with the infection of original sin,
God, Who is wisdom itself, would never infuse the soul into such a body.
And yet He does; wherefore it is not corrupted by the flesh. Therefore
original sin is not in the soul but in the flesh.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[83] A[1] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, The same is the subject of a virtue and of the vice or
sin contrary to that virtue. But the flesh cannot be the subject of
virtue: for the Apostle says (Rm. 7:18): "I know that there dwelleth not
in me, that is to say, in my flesh, that which is good." Therefore the
flesh cannot be the subject of original sin, but only the soul.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[83] A[1] Body Para. 1/3

I answer that, One thing can be in another in two ways. First, as in its
cause, either principal, or instrumental; secondly, as in its subject.
Accordingly the original sin of all men was in Adam indeed, as in its
principal cause, according to the words of the Apostle (Rm. 5:12): "In
whom all have sinned": whereas it is in the bodily semen, as in its
instrumental cause, since it is by the active power of the semen that
original sin together with human nature is transmitted to the child. But
original sin can nowise be in the flesh as its subject, but only in the
soul.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[83] A[1] Body Para. 2/3

The reason for this is that, as stated above (Q[81], A[1]), original sin
is transmitted from the will of our first parent to this posterity by a
certain movement of generation, in the same way as actual sin is
transmitted from any man's will to his other parts. Now in this
transmission it is to be observed, that whatever accrues from the motion
of the will consenting to sin, to any part of man that can in any way
share in that guilt, either as its subject or as its instrument, has the
character of sin. Thus from the will consenting to gluttony,
concupiscence of food accrues to the concupiscible faculty, and partaking
of food accrues to the hand and the mouth, which, in so far as they are
moved by the will to sin, are the instruments of sin. But that further
action is evoked in the nutritive power and the internal members, which
have no natural aptitude for being moved by the will, does not bear the
character of guilt.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[83] A[1] Body Para. 3/3

Accordingly, since the soul can be the subject of guilt, while the
flesh, of itself, cannot be the subject of guilt; whatever accrues to the
soul from the corruption of the first sin, has the character of guilt,
while whatever accrues to the flesh, has the character, not of guilt but
of punishment: so that, therefore, the soul is the subject of original
sin, and not the flesh.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[83] A[1] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: As Augustine says (Retract. i, 27) [*Cf. QQ. lxxxiii, qu.
66], the Apostle is speaking, in that passage, of man already redeemed,
who is delivered from guilt, but is still liable to punishment, by reason
of which sin is stated to dwell "in the flesh." Consequently it follows
that the flesh is the subject, not of guilt, but of punishment.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[83] A[1] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Original sin is caused by the semen as instrumental cause.
Now there is no need for anything to be more in the instrumental cause
than in the effect; but only in the principal cause: and, in this way,
original sin was in Adam more fully, since in him it had the nature of
actual sin.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[83] A[1] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: The soul of any individual man was in Adam, in respect of
his seminal power, not indeed as in its effective principle, but as in a
dispositive principle: because the bodily semen, which is transmitted
from Adam, does not of its own power produce the rational soul, but
disposes the matter for it.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[83] A[1] R.O. 4 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 4: The corruption of original sin is nowise caused by God, but
by the sin alone of our first parent through carnal generation. And so,
since creation implies a relation in the soul to God alone, it cannot be
said that the soul is tainted through being created. On the other hand,
infusion implies relation both to God infusing and to the flesh into
which the soul is infused. And so, with regard to God infusing, it cannot
be said that the soul is stained through being infused; but only with
regard to the body into which it is infused.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[83] A[1] R.O. 5 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 5: The common good takes precedence of private good. Wherefore
God, according to His wisdom, does not overlook the general order of
things (which is that such a soul be infused into such a body), lest this
soul contract a singular corruption: all the more that the nature of the
soul demands that it should not exist prior to its infusion into the
body, as stated in the FP, Q[90], A[4]; FP, Q[118], A[3]. And it is
better for the soul to be thus, according to its nature, than not to be
at all, especially since it can avoid damnation, by means of grace.


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[83] A[2] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether original sin is in the essence of the soul rather than in the
powers?
Aquin.: SMT FS Q[83] A[2] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that original sin is not in the essence of the soul
rather than in the powers. For the soul is naturally apt to be the
subject of sin, in respect of those parts which can be moved by the will.
Now the soul is moved by the will, not as to its essence but only as to
the powers. Therefore original sin is in the soul, not according to its
essence, but only according to the powers.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[83] A[2] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, original sin is opposed to original justice. Now
original justice was in a power of the soul, because power is the subject
of virtue. Therefore original sin also is in a power of the soul, rather
than in its essence.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[83] A[2] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, just as original sin is derived from the soul as from
the flesh, so is it derived by the powers from the essence. But original
sin is more in the soul than in the flesh. Therefore it is more in the
powers than in the essence of the soul.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[83] A[2] Obj. 4 Para. 1/1

OBJ 4: Further, original sin is said to be concupiscence, as stated
(Q[82], A[3]). But concupiscence is in the powers of the soul. Therefore
original sin is also.
Aquin.: SMT FS Q[83] A[2] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Original sin is called the sin of nature, as stated
above (Q[81], A[1]). Now the soul is the form and nature of the body, in
respect of its essence and not in respect of its powers, as stated in the
FP, Q[76], A[6]. Therefore the soul is the subject of original sin
chiefly in respect of its essence.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[83] A[2] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, The subject of a sin is chiefly that part of the soul to
which the motive cause of that sin primarily pertains: thus if the motive
cause of a sin is sensual pleasure, which regards the concupiscible power
through being its proper object, it follows that the concupiscible power
is the proper subject of that sin. Now it is evident that original sin is
caused through our origin. Consequently that part of the soul which is
first reached by man's origin, is the primary subject of original sin.
Now the origin reaches the soul as the term of generation, according as
it is the form of the body: and this belongs to the soul in respect of
its essence, as was proved in the FP, Q[76], A[6]. Therefore the soul, in
respect of its essence, is the primary subject of original sin.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[83] A[2] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: As the motion of the will of an individual reaches to the
soul's powers and not to its essence, so the motion of the will of the
first generator, through the channel of generation, reaches first of all
to the essence of the soul, as stated.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[83] A[2] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Even original justice pertained radically to the essence of
the soul, because it was God's gift to human nature, to which the essence
of the soul is related before the powers. For the powers seem to regard
the person, in as much as they are the principles of personal acts. Hence
they are the proper subjects of actual sins, which are the sins of the
person.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[83] A[2] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: The body is related to the soul as matter to form, which
though it comes second in order of generation, nevertheless comes first
in the order of perfection and nature. But the essence of the soul is
related to the powers, as a subject to its proper accidents, which follow
their subject both in the order of generation and in that of perfection.
Consequently the comparison fails.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[83] A[2] R.O. 4 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 4: Concupiscence, in relation to original sin, holds the
position of matter and effect, as stated above (Q[82], A[3]).


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[83] A[3] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether original sin infects the will before the other powers?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[83] A[3] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that original sin does not infect the will before
the other powers. For every sin belongs chiefly to that power by whose
act it was caused. Now original sin is caused by an act of the generative
power. Therefore it seems to belong to the generative power more than to
the others.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[83] A[3] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, original sin is transmitted through the carnal semen.
But the other powers of the soul are more akin to the flesh than the will
is, as is evident with regard to all the sensitive powers, which use a
bodily organ. Therefore original sin is in them more than in the will.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[83] A[3] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, the intellect precedes the will, for the object of the
will is only the good understood. If therefore original sin infects all
the powers of the soul, it seems that it must first of all infect the
intellect, as preceding the others.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[83] A[3] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Original justice has a prior relation to the will,
because it is "rectitude of the will," as Anselm states (De Concep. Virg.
iii). Therefore original sin, which is opposed to it, also has a prior
relation to the will.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[83] A[3] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, Two things must be considered in the infection of
original sin. First, its inherence to its subject; and in this respect it
regards first the essence of the soul, as stated above (A[2]). In the
second place we must consider its inclination to act; and in this way it
regards the powers of the soul. It must therefore regard first of all
that power in which is seated the first inclination to commit a sin, and
this is the will, as stated above (Q[74], AA[1],2). Therefore original
sin regards first of all the will.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[83] A[3] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Original sin, in man, is not caused by the generative power
of the child, but by the act of the parental generative power.
Consequently, it does not follow that the child's generative power is the
subject of original sin.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[83] A[3] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: Original sin spreads in two ways; from the flesh to the
soul, and from the essence of the soul to the powers. The former follows
the order of generation, the latter follows the order of perfection.
Therefore, although the other, viz. the sensitive powers, are more akin
to the flesh, yet, since the will, being the higher power, is more akin
to the essence of the soul, the infection of original sin reaches it
first.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[83] A[3] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: The intellect precedes the will, in one way, by proposing
its object to it. In another way, the will precedes the intellect, in the
order of motion to act, which motion pertains to sin.


Aquin.: SMT FS Q[83] A[4] Thes. Para. 1/1

Whether the aforesaid powers are more infected than the others?

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[83] A[4] Obj. 1 Para. 1/1

OBJ 1: It would seem that the aforesaid powers are not more infected
than the others. For the infection of original sin seems to pertain more
to that part of the soul which can be first the subject of sin. Now this
is the rational part, and chiefly the will. Therefore that power is most
infected by original sin.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[83] A[4] Obj. 2 Para. 1/1

OBJ 2: Further, no power of the soul is infected by guilt, except in so
far as it can obey reason. Now the generative power cannot obey reason,
as stated in Ethic. i, 13. Therefore the generative power is not the most
infected by original sin.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[83] A[4] Obj. 3 Para. 1/1

OBJ 3: Further, of all the senses the sight is the most spiritual and
the nearest to reason, in so far "as it shows us how a number of things
differ" (Metaph. i). But the infection of guilt is first of all in the
reason. Therefore the sight is more infected than touch.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[83] A[4] OTC Para. 1/1

On the contrary, Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xiv, 16, seqq., 24) that
the infection of original sin is most apparent in the movements of the
members of generation, which are not subject to reason. Now those members
serve the generative power in the mingling of sexes, wherein there is the
delectation of touch, which is the most powerful incentive to
concupiscence. Therefore the infection of original sin regards these
three chiefly, viz. the generative power, the concupiscible faculty and
the sense of touch.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[83] A[4] Body Para. 1/1

I answer that, Those corruptions especially are said to be infectious,
which are of such a nature as to be transmitted from one subject to
another: hence contagious diseases, such as leprosy and murrain and the
like, are said to be infectious. Now the corruption of original sin is
transmitted by the act of generation, as stated above (Q[81], A[1]).
Therefore the powers which concur in this act, are chiefly said to be
infected. Now this act serves the generative power, in as much as it is
directed to generation; and it includes delectation of the touch, which
is the most powerful object of the concupiscible faculty. Consequently,
while all the parts of the soul are said to be corrupted by original sin,
these three are said specially to be corrupted and infected.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[83] A[4] R.O. 1 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 1: Original sin, in so far as it inclines to actual sins,
belongs chiefly to the will, as stated above (A[3]). But in so far as it
is transmitted to the offspring, it belongs to the aforesaid powers
proximately, and to the will, remotely.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[83] A[4] R.O. 2 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 2: The infection of actual sin belongs only to the powers
which are moved by the will of the sinner. But the infection of original
sin is not derived from the will of the contractor, but through his
natural origin, which is effected by the generative power. Hence it is
this power that is infected by original sin.

Aquin.: SMT FS Q[83] A[4] R.O. 3 Para. 1/1

Reply OBJ 3: Sight is not related to the act of generation except in
respect of remote disposition, in so far as the concupiscible species is
seen through the sight. But the delectation is completed in the touch.
Wherefore the aforesaid infection is ascribed to the touch rather than to
the sight.




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